TCU fumbles away points, but prevails in first Big 12 game

Posted Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Since last winter TCU coach Gary Patterson has beaten the drum of his new mantra.

In the Big 12, you have to hold teams to field goals.

He brought it up again at the Big 12 media days in July and mentioned it repeatedly during August camp. Hold them to field goals.

His defense was listening.

No. 16 TCU started its Big 12 era Saturday with a 20-6 win over Kansas in front of 43,867 at Memorial Stadium. The Horned Frogs' offense overcame a rash of turnovers in the red zone, and the defense bailed it out with a second-half shutout.

Casey Pachall had his second-best day for TCU (2-0, 1-0 Big 12), throwing for 335 yards and completing 24 of 30 passes with two touchdowns.

But he also fumbled three times, including twice inside the 10. The first came on the Frogs' first possession. TCU drove 56 yards to the Kansas 9 when a low snap squirted past Pachall, and the Jayhawks recovered near midfield.

The TCU defense, however, came up with the first of several big stops in the game with the Jayhawks threatening at the 16 on third-and-8. Freshmen Davion Pierson and Devonte Fields combined to sack quarterback Dayne Crist for a 4-yard loss, and the Jayhawks settled for a 37-yard field goal.

Back on offense TCU again moved the ball at will and drove 57 yards to the Kansas 23 before Pachall fumbled on a sack by safety Brad McDougald and Kansas recovered.

This time, TCU safety Sam Carter intercepted Crist on the first play of the drive to give the Frogs the ball at midfield. TCU quickly took a 7-3 lead as Pachall hit Brandon Carter for an 8-yard touchdown pass four plays later. Waymon James set up the score with a 31-yard run.

Both teams took turns missing field goals -- Kansas from 45 yards, TCU from 27 -- before the Jayhawks had their most impressive drive of the day to draw within 7-6. Crist completed 5 of 7 attempts on the 76-yard drive. But the Frogs' defense again came up big in the red zone. Kansas was inside TCU's 10 with a first down, but Joel Hasley's sack and then a holding penalty pushed Kansas back to the 20, and the Jayhawks settled for a 22-yard field goal to make it 7-6.

Crist finished with a career-high 303 yards passing.

The Frogs drove 47 yards in the final 3:04 of the first half and made it 10-6 with Jaden Oberkrom's 37-yard field goal with four seconds left on the clock.

"We came out a little bit flat," Pachall said. "It was a pretty frustrating first half."

TCU took a 17-6 lead in the third quarter when Brandon Carter came down with a fluttering Pachall pass for a 25-yard scoring play that capped a 79-yard drive. Pachall was pressured on the play, causing his unusually soft pass, but Carter made the play against Kansas freshman Tyree Williams.

"They brought a blitz and got by our linemen," Pachall said. "They gave me a pretty good shot and I was fortunate enough to get the ball out. [Carter] made a great play and had a great game, too."

Patterson called it a lucky play.

"Sometimes you have to be more lucky than good," he said. "But players make their own luck. Casey's got to stop holding onto the football as long as he did."

Holding onto the football was Pachall's trouble. After Oberkrom gave the Frogs a 20-6 lead with a 27-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter, TCU was threatening to put the game away early in the fourth.

Freshman receiver LaDarius Brown, who finished with five catches for 70 yards, had two for 31 yards on the drive, and Josh Boyce hauled in a Pachall pass for a 20-yard gain to the Kansas 10. But Pachall fumbled again, this time at the goal line, and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback with 10 minutes remaining.

"We were just shooting ourselves in the foot," Pachall said. "It's something we need to work on. We need to get our mentality a little better. We were executing and we felt like they couldn't stop us, but at the same time we were stopping ourselves."

Another lengthy drive on TCU's next possession was spoiled when Matthew Tucker fumbled at the Kansas 7.

The Jayhawks drove 93 yards to the TCU 3 before defensive end Stansly Maponga knocked the ball from Crist on a keeper at the 2 and safety Elisha Olabode recovered with under two minutes left in the game.

"We learned a lesson," Patterson said. "Everybody said when you go to the Big 12 you've got to play your best ballgame every day. Well, I don't know if we did that. We know we didn't play very well today, but you also have to give a little credit to KU.

"You can't just move the football and take for granted that you're going to go score. You have to be able to hold on to it."

Seeing red in the red zone

TCU made it inside the Kansas 25-yard line nine times Saturday but fumbled four times and came away with just 20 points:

Qtr.

Ball at

Result

1st

Kansas 9

KU recovers a botched shotgun snap.

1st

Kansas 23

KU sacks Casey Pachall and recovers a fumble.

1st

Kansas 8

Pachall connects with Brandon Carter for TD.

2nd

Kansas 10

Jaden Oberkrom misses a 27-yard field-goal try.

2nd

Kansas 20

Oberkrom makes a 37-yard field goal.

3rd

Kansas 25

Pachall hooks up with Carter for another TD.

3rd

Kansas 9

Oberkrom makes a 27-yard field goal.

4th

Kansas 8

Pachall fumbles at goal line, giving KU touchback.

4th

Kansas 7

Matthew Tucker fumbles and KU recovers.

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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